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Today i read Aurelian`s biography from SHA and I noticed that at his triumph (after the victory over Zenobia) there were 20 elephants (XXXIII, 4). I have a question: How were they used then? In military campaigns or performances? And what did romans do with captured elephants at all?
Do the postings on the "Greeks & War Elephands" thread help you on that?
Kind regards
It doesn`t help me. It`s about Hellenistic period, isn`t it?

I can only imagine what the Romans did with elephants.
Sounds like more fodder for the Coliseum.
Perhaps a parade then a fantasy "hunt".
Avete, Andy 8)

Did Romans hunt elephants? Do you have any references about it?
Please not that the Historia Augusta is not exactly what one would call a reliable source (see [url:a62y30bn][/url]). The idea that Aurelian took twenty elephants with him may be an invention.

"At least one ruler has been invented, remarkable omens are introduced, and anecdotes are added."

Nevertheless SHA information confirms by other authors (and by coins - see the news about "New Domitian"). The authors of SHA wrote in the early IV century (under Diocletian), and we have no many literary sources earlier SHA, describing III century. But we trust only later sources. Why? Almost all antique writers added remarkable omens and anecdotes, but only SHA is unbelievable! By the way what do you think: Suetonius is more reliable?

"The "minor" biographies (i.e. the lives of co-rulers and usurpers) are usually entirely invented. "

It`s an allegation.

"Among the many games that are played in the Historia Augusta is the invention of no less than 130 fake documents. "

It`s an allegation as well.

"It can certainly not be excluded that the Historia Augusta was in fact composed during the reign of Julian the Apostate (361-363), who briefly attempted to revive paganism. The text may have been part of an attempt to deduce from the splendor of Roman history that the pagan traditionalists were right, and Christianity was, from an historical point of view, an unRoman activity"

So we could put Ammianus Marcellinus in V or VIII century. Why not?
Untrustworthy as the SHA may be, I don't think that an episiode like this could be inventerd out of the whole cloth. It may not have been twentyx, it may not have been Aurelian, and it may reflect later practice, but the Romans had elephants, imported at great cost. I'm not sure whether there still were any North African ones at this point (I assume not), but there was India as a possible source.

As to their use - I think this was their main use. They emonstrated that their owner was rich, powerful, and could keep a very expensive, high-maintenance animal that had no economic or military use, but could trumpet.
According to my boss, the SHA was written at the end of the 4th century, in the time of the Theodosian dynasty. There are a few hints and allusions to this period - but much ink has been spilt about this subject, and a definitve answer is probably never possible.

The book is HIGHLY fictional, but not every piece of information was invented, and the vitae of the 'official' emperors (usually a coup d'etat with success in the long run) are somehow reliable.

So Aurelian could indeed have had 20 elephants (at least!), but did he use them as war elephants ? I don't know. No elephants are mentioned in the battle against the Palmyrene cavalry army (Zosimos).
Quote:No elephants are mentioned in the battle against the Palmyrene cavalry army (Zosimos).

This triumph was after Zenobia`s defeat. 8) I think, it was her elephants.

Fisher in his "Augustan Vita Aureliani" says: "Many sections of the Vita Aureliani are clearly based upon earlier sources of considerable historical value, which, unfortunately, are no longer extant" (JRS, vol. 19 (1929)). He also says that "the triumph" (§§ 33-34) is worthless, but he doesn`t explain the reason.
Quote:No elephants are mentioned in the battle against the Palmyrene cavalry army (Zosimos).

This triumph was after Zenobia`s defeat. 8) I think, it was her elephants.
But there are no elephants mentioned in the battles on Zenobia's side, either!

Since the triumph also, according to the same source, included tigers and giraffes amongs the 200 beasts of various kinds from Africa and Palestine, the elephants may simply have been exotica destined for the circus.
Quote:But there are no elephants mentioned in the battles on Zenobia's side, either!

But the elephant was`t usual thing in Rome. Noone had it.

He (Aurelian) was also presented with an elephant of unusual size, which he then gave to the emperor, and Aurelian was the only commoner of them all who ever owned an elephant. (SHA, Life of Aurelian, V, 6)

So there were not elephants in Rome before Zenobia`s defeat and Aurelian`s triumph. Where were they taken? What do you think?
Well elephants were nothing special in Rome. they frequently used them for games, shows, representations. just take Arrian's notes on elephants in the Alexander bio.
Quote:just take Arrian's notes on elephants in the Alexander bio.

I have Anabasis, can you give me the exact reference? Arrian mentioned Rome in it?
this is a quote from the Anabasis book VIII Indica chapter XIV:

"I myself have seen an elephant clanging the cymbals, and others dancing; two cymbals were fastened to the player's forelegs, and one on his trunk, and he rhythmically beat with his trunk the cymbal on either leg in turn; the dancers danced in circle, and raising and bending their forelegs in turn moved also rhythmically, as the player with the cymbals marked the time for them."

The editor of my german translation Gehrke writes that elephants were quite common in Rome.Pompeius used (or wanted to use) some in his triumph, Caesar shipped some from Italy to Africa to train his troops before the battle of Tapsus, Claudius shipped 2 over to Britain and they are mentioned being used in games and such.

Sorry I don't remember now (will look it up later tho) but weren't trained elephants performing things like the ones mentioned by Arrianus above already reported to have been used during Nero's reign by Tacitus or Suetonius?
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